"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Who’s Afraid of Vernon Wells?

Bronx Banter Productions presents


Thin Chalk Line Between Love and Hate

(Rated R for scenes of extreme, graphic violence against baseballs thrown by Javier Vazquez)


JAVIER VAZQUEZ [34, fit, haunted eyes] stands on the mound, tossing warm-up pitches, listless. The STRIKE ZONE [ageless, flirty, too beautiful to trust] approaches, stands at home plate. Waits for him to notice. Vazquez looks over, flinches.

STRIKE ZONE: Hi, Javy. Good to see you. It’s been a while.

Long, awkward pause.

STRIKE ZONE: I’ve missed you–

JAVY: Don’t.

Behind the Strike Zone, FRANCISCO CERVELLI busily cleans the plate and pretends not to listen, embarrassed.

STRIKE ZONE: Oh, Javy. We were so good together – you know we were.

JAVY: It hasn’t been good for a long time now.

STRIKE ZONE: If only we hadn’t left the National League… we were happy there.

JAVY: Look, I just, I can’t be with you anymore. I don’t want to get hurt again.

STRIKE ZONE: How many times do I have to tell you that I’m sorry? Give me one more chance.

JAVY: After everything… how can I trust you now?

STRIKE ZONE: Please. Just come back, Javy. It’ll be different this time.

Vazquez looks at his shoes, at Cervelli, at the stands. Trying to control his emotions.

JAVY: Dave Eiland says–

STRIKE ZONE: Dave Eiland doesn’t know me, Javy. Not like you do.

JAVY: I need time to think.

STRIKE ZONE: We don’t have any more time! The playoffs start next week, and if you don’t want to be with me, I know Ivan Nova does.

JAVY: You wouldn’t.

STRIKE ZONE: Just look at yourself, Javy. What are you without me?

Vazquez stares deep into the Strike Zone’s eyes.

STRIKE ZONE: Come here, baby. Touch me.

[Vazquez looks for a long moment… sets, and hurls a fastball right down the middle. TRAVIS SNYDER, JOHN BUCK, and AARON HILL hit home runs. The Yankees lose to the Blue Jays, 8-4.]

Let’s all hope we don’t see Vazquez pitch in the playoffs, or I may end up writing a full-length horror film.

On the plus side:

-Alex Rodriguez hit his 30th home run – the 14th time he’s done so (tied for most all-time with one Barry Lamar Bonds), and the 13th consecutive season, which is a record.

-There was also a lovely-seeming pregame ceremony honoring outgoing Toronto manager Cito Gaston, who is retiring on his own terms and earned himself an outpouring of affection from Toronto fans. (I say lovely-seeming because YES didn’t show all of it, and I got home too late for most of what they did show). But I was especially pleased to see that many of the Blue Jays players, by way of a tribute, were wearing fake mustaches to honor their skipper — indeed, Travis Snyder was still wearing his when he hit his home run, which might have been a little insult-to-injury, if it wasn’t so awesome.

If Joe Torre had retired, and gotten a proper sendoff, I wonder what the team would’ve done to honor him. Hold cups of green tea? Look inscrutable? Signal to the bullpen for Scott Proctor?

Categories:  Baseball  Bronx Banter  Emma Span  Games We Play

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1 Ken Arneson   ~  Sep 30, 2010 3:09 am

Hey, that strike zone looks awfully familiar to me for some reason...


2 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Sep 30, 2010 3:14 am

[0] Brilliant.
Sayonara, Jome Run Javy-san!

3 Boatzilla   ~  Sep 30, 2010 3:29 am

The envelop, please. [Kim Jones hands the envelop to Michael Kay]. And the Academy Award for best screen play goes to...Emma Span for Javy & The Strike Zone. Script! Wall! Seeya!

4 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Sep 30, 2010 3:42 am

[3] Ms. Span accepts the trophy: "They like me! They really Like me!! "

escorted off stage...a tv producer approached with a script for "Not Without My Daughter"..

5 RIYank   ~  Sep 30, 2010 6:52 am

Whew, that was steamy. I need a cold shower.

6 Just Fair   ~  Sep 30, 2010 7:47 am

[0] That was a nice way to start my morning. : )
I was chastised last night by the wife for dropping too many f-bombs on H.R. Javy. That best be the last time we EVER see him on the mound again in a Yankee uniform. When he retires he'll make a great AA batting practice pitcher. Douche.

7 bp1   ~  Sep 30, 2010 8:48 am

Signal to the bullpen for Scott Proctor?


That is full blown snort-your-morning-beverage-on-your-desk funny, lol.

Thanks for the laugh. I needed that today.

8 Shaun P.   ~  Sep 30, 2010 8:49 am

Is it wrong of me to actually miss Javy already, because who else could inspire such a post? Whether planned or not, having Emma's phenomenal writing to pick me after some of these losses is very nice.

9 Virginia Yankee   ~  Sep 30, 2010 9:22 am

Very clever Emma! A nice combination of a romance and tragedy. But above all else it was a nice way to lessen the ire directed at Javy.

10 Jon DeRosa   ~  Sep 30, 2010 9:24 am

The last pitch Javy ever threw for the Yankees was a gopher ball. I feel bad for the guy, even though he inspired a lot of holier-than-thou bloggers to hammer anyone who dared question his acquisition.

It created an atmosphere where his performance or lack thereof, reflected on your opinion of how to evaluate baseball players. Again, that's not fair to Javy or even an accurate reflection - it's only one guy, one season and nobody can accurately predict every player in baseball.

Too bad he sucked, don't acquire righties who give up a bunch of homers to pitch in Yankee Stadium.

11 rbj   ~  Sep 30, 2010 9:41 am

Thanks Emma. The last line was perfect, oh so funny because it's true.

And it would have been damn good to have won last night, but I can't be upset as it was Cito's last home game. Let's just hope the Rays lose tonight and then we'll see about the final three games.

12 kenboyer made me cry   ~  Sep 30, 2010 9:52 am

Brilliant, funny, but sad too. Javy...we hardly knew thee. But it has been enough. I predict he will have great success again in some pitcher friendly national league park.

I wonder how mistress Strike Zone would seduce AJ? He betrays her by rolling in the dirt with his curvaceous pitches, bouncing off the plate, hitting the backstop. Would she even want him?

I never believed two months ago that Arod would reach 30 HRs this season. He obviously was not right for months, and it is great his stroke is back for the post season.

13 hiscross   ~  Sep 30, 2010 9:53 am

Javey is a National League pitcher. He has never did well in the American Leasgue. That strike works well for season veterns like CC, but will never work for Javey. Cashman should have seen this when he signed him. Cash tried to buy cheap and sell high, but the problem is pitchers like home prices are not the same eveywhere. A good NL pitcher (like Javey was last year) is a batting practice pitcher in the AL East. Ask AJ. Looks like the Yankees will go with CC, Andy, and Hughes in the PO. AJ should be OK against the NL team in the WS if the Yanks make it that far.

14 Raf   ~  Sep 30, 2010 10:04 am

[13] Vazquez has had success in the AL.

15 Diane Firstman   ~  Sep 30, 2010 10:17 am


Emma wins AL MVP with this post.

16 Emma Span   ~  Sep 30, 2010 10:32 am

Thanks, everyone.

Next up:


17 williamnyy23   ~  Sep 30, 2010 10:35 am

You have to hand it to Javy. When he fails, he does it in epic style. Lots of men have played for the Yankees, but after this season, only Javy can lay claim to two distinctions. Earlier in the year, he set the franchise record for most pitches in a four inning game, and after last night, he is now the only pitcher in team history to surrender 30 or more homers in two separate seasons (and he only need two years to do it). Congratulations, Javy!

18 williamnyy23   ~  Sep 30, 2010 10:39 am

[16] I'd more look forward to Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter in The Book of Five Rings, if you can manage that one instead.

19 ms october   ~  Sep 30, 2010 10:54 am

i feel bad for javy. i think if the yanks had put him on the dl this summer when he had dead arm he would have had the chance to rebound some and possibly be a viable candidate to start in the post season.
i know the book ends of this season have been a horror show, but his stretch of quite good games in the mid-summer were impressive.
pretty obvious, but once his command dipped with his velocity he just couldn't be an effective pitcher.
seems to me he tried like hell to get it all together - his arm failed him though - it's too bad.

20 ms october   ~  Sep 30, 2010 10:55 am

[12] oh yeah - that arod got to 30hrs again despite the early season power outage is impressive as hell.

21 Mattpat11   ~  Sep 30, 2010 11:35 am

[14] He's had four seasons and has been sub par to awful in three of them.

22 Sliced Bread   ~  Sep 30, 2010 11:39 am

[0] Great script, Emma. The ageless, flirty, too beautiful to trust Strike Zone could only be played by (please wait) (not yet) (now!) Nathan Lane!

[16] There's the pitch! I'll give you everything I have to make CHAD GAUDIN: THE MUSICAL come to life. Have you thought about (hang on) (here it comes) (ready?) Nathan Lane?!

23 Diane Firstman   ~  Sep 30, 2010 12:02 pm


But please, no Oliver Platt as Steinbrenner.

24 Dimelo   ~  Sep 30, 2010 12:03 pm


25 nettles   ~  Sep 30, 2010 2:48 pm

That. Is. Genius. Frickin' awesome, Emma. Well done! It'd be funnier if it wasn't the god's honest truth, though. :-(

26 hiscross   ~  Sep 30, 2010 9:14 pm

14. Raf
September 30th, 2010 at 10:04 am
[13] Vazquez has had success in the AL.

14-10 Yanks 04
11-12 Chisox 06
15-8 Chisox 07
12-16 Chisox 08

52-46 Hum maybe of Chicago, not for any East team

27 Kered Retej   ~  Oct 1, 2010 4:59 pm

I really do feel bad for Javy. He seems like a nice enough guy, and I really wish he had found a way to get it together in NY. I had high hopes for him in both of his NY tours.

It mus be tough for an elite athlete like that to have to face the fact that he's completely lost that ability. I'm sure he knows he's just throwing meatballs up there, and there's nothing he can do about it. Must be frustrating as hell.

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